(KRON) — Thursday is International Overdose Awareness Day. Many are spending the day spreading awareness about Narcan and how it’s used to stop an overdose.
From doctors and harm reduction experts to parents who have lost their sons and daughters to an overdose. There was an overdose awareness day event in Marin County.
Narcan was free to anyone who wanted it at the Marin Ace Hardware store in San Rafael. Experts explained how to use the spray to stop an overdose and several parents shared their stories of they wish someone would have used Narcan on their child.
A stop at Marin Ace wasn’t just an errand for customers on Thursday, but a chance to learn how Narcan works to stop an overdose.
Director of Harm Reduction at The Spahr Center, Chris Brown, spent International Overdose Awareness Day handing out nasal sprays for free.
“Here in Marin, there’s a fatal overdose about every five to six days and sixty percent of those overdoses involve fentanyl, Brown said.
Fentanyl is now a part of Michelle Leopold’s vocabulary on a daily basis. Leopold’s son died in 2019 of a fentanyl overdose while he was at Sonoma State. He was 18 years old.
“It was something along those lines of 2 micro milligrams is what will kill you and he had over 4 micro milligrams,” Leopold said.
It’s never easy to talk about the loss of her son, but she does it so others can learn from her son’s experience.
“It is the worst thing that will ever happen to anyone,” Leopold said.
Marin Ace customer Charles Dines will never forget this after picking up his free Narcan.
“Always wanted to have something in the house that could be useful in case of and this is a great opportunity to learn about the latest,” Dines said.
Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis says Narcan is one of the key components of fighting the opioid crisis. Drug overdoses are now the number one cause of death in Marin County among those 55 and younger.
“It has eclipsed cancer as that leading cause, more than doubled between 2018 to 2021 and it’s really been primarily attributable to fentanyl,” Willis said.
Overdoses are not easy to bring up and are an extremely complicated problem to solve. However, this group isn’t here to avoid the tough topics. They’re here to save lives.
“I don’t want any other parents to bury their children,” Leopold said.
According to Dr. Willis, there’s no downside to the use of Narcan. The public health officer says if somebody is having an overdose, Narcan can save their life.
If it’s not an overdose, the use of Narcan will not hurt them.